Intel Core i9-12900K at 125W

What happens when power is dialled down?

CPU Performance

Two truths emerge. As postulated, single-thread performance isn’t negatively impacted by any meaningful degree, evidenced by the near-identical scores in the 1T Cinebench and Geekbench tests. Running a few threads on either Performance or Efficient cores doesn’t get close to breaching a 125W limit, let alone 241W, so scaling overall power down is a sage move if most of the day-to-day work involves running simple applications.

We can now answer the question posed on the first page. By dropping package power by around 50 per cent we observe the chip manages to hold 85 per cent of the full-fat Cinebench performance, 87 per cent of all-core Keyshot, and 95 per cent of Geekbench, which is more lightly threaded.

It’s clear the optimal voltage/frequency curve for Alder Lake silicon is lower down the wattage spectrum and raising it to 241W is solely for combatting the best-in-class Ryzens.

Even so, single-thread performance remains first class for the 125W chip, while multi-thread is usually between Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 9 3900XT.

There’s a strong case for using a 125W power budget if installing the Core i9-12900K into a small-form-factor PC or near-silent cooling is paramount.